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Easy and Cheap Ways to Get New Customers

By Laura Sherman | Small Business

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There are many different ways to promote a business, ensuring that new clients flood in. Some methods require a long-term financial commitment, while others rely on creative intelligence. If you don’t have the budget for a thirty second Super Bowl spot, don’t worry, there are options. Here are a few common sense tips that can help multi-billion dollar conglomerates as well as small mom-and-pop shops.

Have a web presence

If you don’t have a website, you need one. Make sure it is mobile friendly, so people can access it on the go. Even if you have a small shop that caters to locals, more people will find you if you’re online.

It’s a good idea to blog about topics that relate to your business if you can, so that people find you when they search for answers to their questions. It’s good to guest blog (get other websites and blogs to run an article you write) as well, as those posts will drive new people to your website. You can often use the same article on various blogs, making slight changes to fit the readership. Don’t forget to include a good bio that mentions and links to your website.

Another trick is to seek out popular blog articles that relate to your field of expertise and post thoughtful comments there. Be sure to link your comment to your website, so that readers can click through to learn more about you.

Once you have a decent website, do everything you can to be active on various social media sites. You’ll discover which ones work best for you. Facebook and twitter are obvious but don’t forget Pinterest, LinkedIn, and others. Daily activity will slowly build interest. Just don’t advertise overtly. Marketing with social media is more about communicating to people about relevant topics while gaining their trust and interest.

Use creativity and humor to share your message

If you can make a potential client smile before they hire you, you’re ahead of the game. Find creative ways to reach your demographic. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, be known for posting humorous messages, so that people will follow you. It’s a good way for people to get to learn about you and your business.

You might also consider a catchy YouTube video. If you’re creative enough, you don’t need a budget. The video might just go viral and send your business to a new level.

The Dollar Shave Club, a company that sends customers razor blades each month for a buck, created a low-budget video that has over twenty million hits. It’s a low-tech, funny video that makes you want to share it with your friends. It’s inspired.

Or for a no-tech approach, you can create a local event. For example, Cole Family Dentistry in Pennsylvania hosts an annual pumpkin carving contest. What better way to highlight teeth in a fun, family way?

Offer free consultations

If you’re building a service oriented business, offer as many free consultations as you can. Yes, you’re giving your time away for free, but that’s okay. You’ll likely wind up with new clients and you’re helping people along the way.

The trick is to set a reasonable limit for each consultation, say thirty minutes. A half an hour gives you enough time to offer guidance, but doesn’t lock you into a two-hour conversation.

During the session, focus on the prospective client and their needs. Don’t try to sell them anything unless your product or service can offer a clear solution to their problem. If you give them good, sound advice, you’ll give them a taste for what you can do for them, so that they will be more likely to hire you in the future.

If it becomes clear that they don’t really need your service, tell them so. It’s the right thing to do. Chances are they will be impressed by your candor and might just use you at a different time or refer their friends to you.

Give stellar customer service

Before you begin thinking about new client acquisition, make sure you’re giving impeccable customer service. Treat everyone who comes to you as if they were your cherished brother or sister. If you always go above and beyond, giving your clients more than they expect, they will hire you over and over.

When you know a client is happy with your service ask for a testimonial, so you can post it on your website. These will help you bring in new clients. You might also ask people to give you a review on sites like TripAdvisor, Amazon.com, and Yelp.

While you work hard to get new clients, it’s vital that you do everything to retain your current customers. Otherwise, it would be a bit like pouring water into a jug that has a hole in the bottom. If your business is leaking clients, repair the problems first, then go after the new ones.

If you’re not sure what the problem is, survey your existing database and ask. Most people will be happy to give you an honest answer. Don’t make dramatic changes based on one person’s opinion, but fix problems that affect many.

Promote to your existing client base

Most of your clients probably have an address book containing hundreds or thousands of friends and associates. If you were able to promote to those people, it would be like finding a goldmine for your business.

One way to tap into this resource is to write a compelling newsletter. If you do so, your clients will naturally forward your message to their friends. It’s even possible that those people will pass these articles on to another set of people.

The trick is to write content that people really want to read, which gives them advice they can use in their daily lives. Teach them something. Don’t worry about giving away all your knowledge. People will still need your product or service.

There are many ways to reach potential clients. Direct advertisement can be effective, but takes time to develop and is usually prohibitively expensive for a small business. Creative approaches can be much cheaper and just as effective. If you focus on your clients’ needs and promote your business consistently, you’ll find new customers knocking on your door on a regular basis.

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